Agartala - Officials of India and Bangladesh will undertake a joint study next month to examine the infrastructure for trade and business along the border and also suggest measures to boost cross-border trade, Tripura's Commerce and Industries Minister Jitendra Chaudhury said Monday.
"Senior officials of external affairs, commerce ministries and customs of two countries will begin their joint study June 9 to examine the infrastructure along both sides of the Indo-Bangla borders," Chaudhury told reporters here.
He said: "The official teams of both countries would also see the locations for proposed 'border haats'. They would also suggest the measures for improving and expanding border infrastructure, including roads."
The team will also visit Customs stations along Tripura's border with Bangladesh, which shares 856 km border with the northeastern state.
The state had last year sent proposals to the central government for setting up border haats in seven bordering areas, but the two countries recently approved four such trading markets after mutual consultation.
The proposed haats would be set up at Raghna and Kamalpur in northern Tripura, Kasba in western Tripura and Srinagar in southern Tripura.
"If the existing border infrastructure is upgraded, the volume of trade and business between Bangladesh and northeastern states of India would be increased five to six times of the current level," Chaudhury said.
"The border haats would be allowed to sell local agricultural and horticultural products, spices, minor forest products (excluding timber), fresh and dry fish, dairy and poultry products, cottage industry items, wooden furniture, handloom and handicraft items," a senior Tripura government official told IANS.
He said that trading in these bazaars would be held once or twice a week, and a spending cap of $50 will be imposed per head. No local tax will be imposed on the trading. Both Indian and Bangladeshi currencies will be accepted, the official said.
"Trade between Bangladesh and Tripura alone has increased from Rs.4 crore in 1996 to Rs.258 crore in the last financial year. During the current fiscal (2011-12) up to December (last year) the trade further increased to Rs.232 crore and is expected to cross Rs.300 crore by March-end," he added.